Our view of the Galile

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Beautiful Women- Parshat Vayeitzei 2014/5775

from the
Holy Land
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
"Your friend in Karmiel"

November 28th 2014 -Volume 5, Issue 6 -6th  of Kislev 5775
(Please check out the video clip of the song I composed in memory of the martyrs of Har nof Massacre below in this E-Mail)
Parshat Vayeitzei
Beautiful Women
David was a young man who had become more religious in recent years. He had studied in Yeshiva in Israel and was now back in the States where he was going to college and trying to make a living to pay his bills which without much parental support was becoming more and more difficult. His parents had offered him to live at home with them, but he knew that Kosher, Shabbat and all the nuances of his observant lifestyle would be too challenging for him to keep there. His parents wouldn't understand, although they respected him, and he felt that he would have a better relationship with them and a fuller religious life in the lower East Side close to his beloved teacher, one of the 
leaders of Torah Jewry at the time Rabbi Moshe Feinstien.

But real estate and rental prices aren't cheap in Manhattan. And after weeks of exhausting, frustrating
 searches David was having a hard time finding a place. Finally he saw an ad in the local paper for someone looking for a roommate, or more correctly for a situation that offered a free living arrangement. When he called the number to find out what the scoop was, however he wasn't too hopeful it was something that he was able to do. The offer that was being made was for him to share an apartment with an elderly Jewish woman. Although she had full time day aides that would spend time with her, her children wanted to have someone with her at night time as well. Being as "Sadie" refused to be put into any type of nursing home, the only feasible solution was to find a young man that would be willing to sleep over and share her Apartment which they would offer for free.  For someone like David, that didn't have any real social life or needs as he was in school and had not started Shiduch dating anyways this seemed like a perfect situation. Except….

Except….Except for one little Jewish law. For David recalled learning in Yeshiva that it was forbidden by Jewish Law for a man to be secluded with a woman who he is not married to or is his close relative for any significant period of time. Certainly David was not that concerened of "anything" ever happening between Sadie and himself, Yet a law is a law and a Mitzva is a Mitzva and as far as he was aware there really was no exceptions to the rule, barring of course life and death situations. On the other hand, maybe this situation was different. Perhaps since this was more of a Rabbinic rather than Biblical law there was more "wiggle" room. After- all she was older, he was in a tight financial spot.  This would really help him live a better religious lifestyle. It was after-all right around the corner from his Yeshiva and Synagogue. The Yetzer Harah is really good at this game and David realized that he needed to seek guidance from his Rebbe, although he wasn't too hopeful. After-all a law is a law regardless if it makes sense or not. Isn't that true?

So David headed over to his Rebbe's house to pose the question to his Rebbe. He began his question with the disclaimer that

 "I know that this is probably forbidden..but I just wanted to check with Rebbe to see if maybe in this situation it would be alright…"
His Rebbe though taught him a lesson though that remained with him for the rest of his life.

"I'm sorry Duvid'l" Reb Moshe said "It is prohibited for you to be together with her. They can find a nice young woman to watch over her or she could be placed in a home with full time help, or perhaps even best of all is the family themselves can take turns watching over her. You however cannot."

And then when Reb Moshe seeing the young man's still questioning eyes taught him the lesson that would remain with him forever.

"Duvid'l remember it doesn’t' make a difference how old someone is a Jewish woman never loses her beauty… A Jewish woman never loses her beauty…"

David found another apartment. He married a nice Jewish woman a few months later and today he is a grandfather himself with a still beautiful Jewish wife. Not a day goes by that he doesn't appreciate her and not a day that he doesn’t' pass down that message to his children as they begin to build their homes. A Jewish woman never loses her beauty. A law is a law.

In this week's Torah portion we are introduced to the last of our Matriarchs; Rachel and Leah (and their hand-maidens Bilha and Zilpa) from whom the entire Jewish people are born. So much time and commentary is spent in the book of Genesis/Bereshis discussing and examining the lives of our forefathers and their trials and challenges and many times the extraordinary personalities and the lives of our Matriarch is glossed over. Yet it is truly this great and beautiful women who more often than not get the sole credit for defining and creating the essence of the Jewish people. Each one of our Matriarchs were different, as each one of our Patriarchs were and each one of them possessed unique qualities that formed our eternal Nation's spiritual DNA, yet one common theme encompasses all of them; a sense of commitment and personal sacrifice for their children, their family and their Jewish home.

Sarah, our first Matriarch, has perhaps one of the most challenging lives imaginable. Orphaned as her father is killed by the wicked king Nimrod she marries her uncle Avraham and together with him create the first Jewish outreach center in the world. Now I can tell you from personal experience that there is not too many things more exciting and fulfilling than having a home where people can come and spend Shabbat meals and are introduced to the beauty of Judaism. I get to give classes, people are excited and inspiration fills the air. But for the Jewish wife who has to cook meals, clean-up and have her house turned into a free for all for anyone her husband decides to bring home on any particular day from shul it's not always so easy. Particularly if you are living in a tent and especially if your husband is Avraham who didn't meet a person, isolator, pagan, vagrant, traveler who he didn't think could use a nice good bowl of hot soup and who’s soul he didn't feel he had to reach out to. Moving along in her life we read story after story of how she is beset with challenges of picking up and leaving her life and community that she had spent decades building to wander into some foreign land; one of the most idiolatrous and pagan societies in the world; Canaan. For Avraham, this came from a command from above with blessings and promise of children and greatness. For Sarah this was faith in her husband and in Hashem.

When they arrive in the new country, they are beset with famines which make them leave the land again and again where she is beset with even greater challenges. She lies about her marital status to protect her husband and is given over to despot kings who, but for the hand of Hashem, would have defiled her. Even in the land of Israel, she still does not see the promise of children yet in order to build the Jewish home she is willing to give her husband her own hand maiden so that at least he may produce an heir. When she finally has her son Yitzchak, she is forced once again to make difficult choices and even stand up to her own husband recognizing that only with by sending away Yishmael her husband's beloved elder son can Yitzchak become the great and pure Patriarch that he is meant to become. Her life ends, the Torah tells us, right after Yitzchak is taken to be bound on an altar before God. Yitzchak has achieved the level of a Patriarch from who’s merit the Jewish people will always depend upon. Her husband Avraham has passed his final test and achieved all that he was meant to. Her life is complete, and she dies as the first Jewish Matriarch who instilled in all the Jewish mothers that would follow the commitment to doing whatever it would take for their children and their family. That, my friends is beauty.

Rivka, our second Matriarch become the symbol of Jewish chesed and kindness that is the Jewish woman that starts at even the youngest of ages as she brings water to Eliezer, Avraham's servant, and to his camels. She as well as all of our Matriarchs is barren for many years. And when she finally does have children, she becomes the first Jewish mother to have to deal with perhaps one of the greatest challenges anyone can ever have and that is the challenge and struggle of a child that is not turning out the way and with the values that he was meant to become and achieve. A child that becomes a thief, a murderer and who's hatred and jealousy of his brother, her other son, reaches levels where he his life is in danger. This is in face of the promise that Hashem had given her that she would have two great nations. That one was meant to become subservient to the other and through the shared special relationship between the two forces of Yaakov and Esau the world could reach its spiritual fulfillment. She, as her predecessor Sarah, are given a deeper level of spiritual intuition and understanding than their husbands as to what she must to make this family whole and create the Jewish Nation. But perhaps even greater than Sarah, she must send away her own beloved son, a son whom she will never see again, and she must send him to a place and to her brother who she knows is certainly going to make life difficult if not even worse try to destroy him, all so that he may become the great Patriarch that he is meant to become. The final epitaph that the Torah tells us about Rivkah, that the Torah tells us at the conclusion of last week's Torah portion is that she is the mother of Yaakov and Esau. She was not only Yaakovs mother she was Esau's as well; equally. If we grasp that and the tremendous sacrifices and life of a woman that is defined by her act and personality of goodness and kindness, than we can slowly start to comprehend that eternal beauty of our Matriarchs.

Finally this week we are introduced to the last of the Jewish Matriarchs, Rachel the beloved first-choice and Bashert/soul-mate of Yaakov and Leah who was meant to marry Esau, but through her power of tear-filled prayers and her recognition that only through Yaakov would she be able to be part of the Jewish destiny became the fourth Matriarch and the mother of half the tribes of Israel. The sacrifice and challenge of these two women is incomprehensible to the modern mind. I saw an insight that explained that although we have a tradition that our forefathers observed the entire Torah before it was given based on their own spiritual understanding of its integral part of Creation, and the marriage of two sisters is forbidden, Yaakov understood that Rachel and Leah were both meant to be married to him. For although once the Torah was given it is prohibited to violate its commandments based on one's own understanding, prior to its being given our forefathers were able to interpret its laws. When it comes to marrying two sisters the Torah says it is prohibited to marry them as they will cause anguish and jealousy between one another. Yaakov knew though that for Rachel and Leah this would never be a problem. Rachel gave her sister Leah the special secret signs that Yaakov gave her fearful that his father-in-law the crook Lavan might pull something like he did switching the sisters on the wedding night. According to one Medrash she even hid in the bedroom and spoke when Yaakov spoke to her in order that her sister not be shamed. Each one of these Matriarch, as Sarah before them give their own hand-maidens to their husband as wives in order to merit having more children. For these two women Yaakov knew that there would never be any jealousy. They were willing to give and do anything to build the nation of Israel. Mama Rachel, Yaakov's beloved is not even buried together with him and Yaakov tells his son years later that it is for one reason. Rachel, would never have wanted to be buried there because she had known that she would one day be able to see her children going into exile years later and she wanted to be buried on the route in order to pray for them. In order to cry before our Father in Heaven for them. In order that they may one day soon merit to build that ultimate Jewish home and return to Israel. The beauty of our Jewish women is forever.

We live in a world where beauty is barely skin-deep. We live in a world where so many of our beautiful young Jewish women are challenged in finding their soul-mates who can find that inner beauty that never fades within them. Jewish homes become threatened and in many cases even devastated because many forget that lesson of Reb Moshe about the eternal beauty of our spouses our holy women. Sadly so many of our women forget that their ultimate glory and beauty is their inner strength and fortitude and they feel the need to obscure that by defining themselves by their externalities and their fleeting physical appeal rather than the eternal beauty that flourishes from within. We live in a world that we were meant to inspire and teach about the essence of relationships, family, homes and marriage and all too often we have allowed them to influence us. It is perhaps for this reason that it is so important that each Friday night Shabbat evening, right before we say our Kiddush and sanctify our holiest day each week,  Jewish custom is to recite the Aishet Chayil/ Woman of Valour psalm composed by King Solomon. The song that was composed as an analogy about our relationship with Hashem is utilized in its simplest form to remind us of our special relationship with our wives, our mothers, the Jewish woman who builds our home. For without that appreciation we can't even connect to God and to the holiness of Shabbos. To appreciate the eternal nature of Shabbos we have to appreciate the eternal beauty of the Jewish woman that gives us that eternity. For it is only when we realize the beauty of our lives that we can bask in the aura of other-worldliness that being Hashem's people truly is.

Have a beautiful Shabbos,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz


On my way home from paying a Shiva call to the parents and family of my dear friend Aryeh Kupinshy H"YD I composed this beautiful song that captured my feelings and emotions. I had a good friend of mine with a beautiful voice sing it for me and make the arrangements and I put together a slideshow that depicts the horror and grief of the terrible, painful tragedies that we have gone through. The words are Avinu Malkeinu Asei L'Maan Harugim Al Shem Kodshecha. It is my hope that as you watch this you offer the heartfelt prayers to our Father in Heaven to bring the redemption already and may these be the last sacrifices that he takes from us.

an edited less graphic slideshow of above song and tragedy


The heart sees better than the eye"-Yiddish quote
 "Man does not control his own fate. The women in his life do that for him."-Groucho Marx

(answer below at end of Email)
 Q.  An arterial tourniquet should never be applied to the
A) Neck
B)  Calf
C)  Thigh
D) Arm
After Yackov leaves Lavans house working for his father in law for 22 years. Lavan pursues him looking for the idols that Rachel stole. When his search comes up fruitless. Yackov tells him
"You have looked through all my possesions and what have you found of all your household goods.?"
There is an important Medrash that says A son-in-law who lived in his father-in-laws house and leaves it would usually be given some item or another from his father-in-law. Who would dismiss a son-in-law empty-handed? But you Lavan have searched all my vessels and have not found a single thread or needle that belonged to you.
That's it... J

Meet inspiring people – When you are visiting Israel you are not only visiting a country you are meeting a people a nation of God. This is a place where you can meet the most incredible people in the world. It's a country where everyone has a story, a miracle that has happened to them, a brother, a cousin, a friend or neighbor that they may have lost in a war giving up their lives for the Jewish people. People that are involved in all types of various activities of community kindness and making the world a better place. There are great Rabbis and Rebbetzins you can and should meet that could share with you insights and words of inspiration. Even the simplest taxi driver in this country has a story to tell a world-view that can change your life. Don't be shy we're all family here and while you are here take the time to get to know them and in the process get to know yourself a little better.

An Israeli mayor in a small town is walking past a construction site with his wife. One of the construction workers stops and calls out to the woman.
 "What's new, Sara?"
 "Why, it's nice to see you again Avi," the woman replies. She turns to introduce her husband to the construction worker, and they speak for several minutes.
 After the mayor and his wife continue on, he turns to his wife to ask how she knows him.
 "Oh," she said. "We went together in high school. I even thought about marrying him."
 The husband began to laugh. "You don't realize how lucky you are. If I hadn't come along, today you would be the wife of a construction worker!"
 The wife replied without hesitation, "Not really. If I had married him, he'd now be a mayor!"


Answer is A:  Yes we Tour guides have to learn 1st aid as well, although Baruch Hashem I have never needed to use it. CPR, what to do in case of animal bites, breaks, electrocution and in Israel in case of God forbid terror attacks. Being a professional lifeguard helps as well. Although having a gun is not a requirement, many guides to carry one. I personally don't. I figure any place I might need a gun I'm not taking people and if I do I'd rather have soldiers around. I think everyone will be safer that way.   A tourniquet is a solution by the way for only arm and leg injuries. You do not want to try strangling a guy with one…don't think you need first aide for that.

Avinu Malkeinu, Har Nof Massacre moving video "edited" version

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Kaddish Tour- Toldos 5775/2014

Insights and Inspiration
from the
Holy Land
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
"Your friend in Karmiel"

November 21st 2014 -Volume 5, Issue 5 -28th  of Cheshvan 5775
Parshat Toldos
A Kaddish Tour
The theme of our trip with my tourists this past week became a Kaddish tour. Phil and Martin two brothers were here in Israel a few months after their mothers passing and they wanted to be able to see and walk and explore the land that their father of blessed memory had never been able to come to. For Martin this was his first time in Israel. Tears streamed down his eyes as he landed here and they didn't stop flowing until he headed back. Over the course of the trip we davened in holy places in which all of them Kaddish was recited for their mother. The grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in Meron, Rabbi Akiva in Tiverya, Kever Rachel in Beit Lechem and The Churva shul in Yerushalayim. When we finally came to the Kotel, the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, Martin said he felt the presence of his parents looking down upon him. After we davened Shacharis Martin asked me if we could go up to the Temple Mount and say kaddish there. This was certainly not something that I would do this week and although there are many religious Jews that do go up based on the rulings of their Rabbis, my mentors and guides have always felt it is problematic and I still await the day when Hashem gives us back out Temple to once again go up and kiss that holy ground.
But a tour guide can't just say no. We have to have an alternative. As a rabbi, as well, I saw Martin's longing and knew that holy inspiration had to be channeled it needed to connect with the holy spheres. So I told Martin that I would take them to another place- a place I said that I believe is even more powerful. We got into the car and made our way to Har Nof, the once idyllic city that I spent my yeshiva years in Israel studying and where my wife and sisters went to seminary in. But there were no children playing on the streets. The city was quiet, in mourning and in shock. Police vans and reporters lined the streets, it  was here that my childhood friend, Aryeh, and Aliza's close friend Chaya Levine's husband Kalman, were massacred while davening the day before in their Tallis and Tefillin. As we entered the shul and passed the bullet hole ridden front doors. I paused and wiped tears and told them the following.
"I cannot take you to the place of the Beit Hamikdash, it has been destroyed and we are still in exile. Mashiach is still not here and we have not yet reached the eternal promise of peace when the 'wolves' will lie down with the sheep and spears and axes will be turned to plowshares. But I can take you to the Mizbayach- to the most recent altar laid before our father in heaven upon which four sacrifices were brought yesterday morning. This is our Holy of Holies today. Here we will say Kaddish and sanctify our Father's name. May these be the last sacrifices that he takes from us that we are not bringing to him on the altar in the Beit Hamikdash."
I remember Aryeh growing up. His parents lived a few houses down from us. We played ball together. Cops and Robbers. He was always the Cop, I always preferred to be the robber… robber/Rabbi they sound the same J. I don't know if there was a day that either he wasn't at my house or more usually I was at his. (His parents had less restrictive TV rules J.) When he told me his parents were moving to Israel, when he was eleven years old. I couldn't believe it. Who was I going to play with? Who was going to be there for me? But move they did. His parents Bracha and Shlomo the week after the newborn babies Bris moved to brand new community of Kiryat Arbah. They wanted to raise their children with their love and passion of Eretz Yisrael. With a life that was not just full of learning Torah, doing Chesed/kindness and praying for the day that we would return home, but to grab the opportunity to be part of that return. To live in that critical strategic area, up the block from and overlooking the tombs of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron. Their children would be able to learn the Torah of Eretz Yisrael, to practice kindness and observe the mitzvos in the land that for generations we always longed for. My friend Aryeh was a testimony of the success of that plan.
My former neighbors who moved to Har Nof a few months ago and who are preparing for their sons Bar Mitzva, told me they spoke to him the other day. It seems that Aryeh had bought a few small freezers for his own family simcha and then decided to use them as a way of helping others. With some small advertisements in the local newspapers he advertised his newest Gemach (kindness fund) of which he had many. This was a freezer fund anyone that needed one to borrow for their family occasions and simchas had to just call him and he would bring it over for them to use for as long as they needed and pick them up when they were done. He told my neighbors that he was so overwhelmed with responses and requests he was looking to buy a few more. Aryeh was just full of love for his fellow man. Each Purim he would get dressed up as a clown to be the crossing guard for the kids. He was someone that was full of thoughtfulness and joy of life and he was also a man of tremendous faith. When his young daughter passed away in her sleep just a few years ago suddenly, I remember talking to him, I couldn't stop crying as he comforted me and told me of all the kindness organizations he would start and open in her memory. How she would continue to live on in the inspiration she left. He was a Torah scholar, who worked in computers to support his family. But if you asked him what he did, his learning was always the way he defined himself. Completing tractate after tractate and always making sure he was doing right not only in the eyes of Hashem but in living a life that would bring us together and sanctify Hashem's name in this world. That was the Korban/sacrifice Hashem took this week. That was my friend.
How does this happen? How could it be? How does Hashem take a Jew and father of 10 like Kalman Levine, who davened at sunrise every morning and just came to the shul to ask the Rabbi a question in his Torah study that has been troubling for a few days? Or a Rabbi like Rabbi Twersky who inspired so many of his young American students with his personal love and caring for each of them, whose love of Torah and everything transformed the lives of hundreds of young men eternally? Or Aryeh, whose last acts on this world before he was brutally murdered was to daven to our Father in Heaven in the Talis and Tefilin that he wore every day of his life since he got them, and then to throw chairs and shtenders at his attackers in shul as he yelled for others to leave and escape. It doesn't make sense? It can't be.
In this week's Torah portion we read about or elderly Patriarch Yitzchak, who was himself tied up and lais out as an offering before God. The Torah portion tells us that in his old age as he came to bless his sons his eyes were blinded. He was thus able to be deceived into giving the rightful firstborn blessing to Yaakov our forefather, rather than Esau who had sold it to him for a pot of soup. Our sages tell us that Yitzchaks blindness came from the tears of the angels that fell upon his eyes when they saw that emotional and tragic scene of Avraham standing over his son Yitzchak with his knife willing to offer him up to sanctify God's name as per Hashem's specific command to him in that most powerful of trials of Avraham's faith. The tears of angels…
One of my teachers once explained, that in heaven there are no tears. In heaven all is clear. The Divine plan is understood and revealed. It is all good. For the angels to cry they had to come down to this world. A world where hiddenness of the Divine reigns, a world of pain and tragedy as mankind struggles to reconnect, through our faith and belief, with our Creator; a world where evil and murder is as much of a free choice as love and kindness. It is only in this world where angels can cry. And it is those tears that could even blind our Patriarch Yitzchak into not seeing the murderous hatred of his son Esau, as he looked in him for that Divine spark. While not fully appreciating the power of the goodness and even leadership of the simple Torah scholar, Yaakov, who dwelled in the tent and his ability to build a nation and transform the world with his ways of kindness and his steadfast commitment to Torah and its ways. Yitzchak was looking with the angels of heavens eyes where all is good. Yet here in this world we are left with our mortal confusion, our pain, our tragedy our existence which all too well knows the hatred of our enemies and the animalistic depravity with which they will go about trying to destroy us.
Martin asked me if this is what life in Israel is like. A rough question for many tour guides. But my heart is what gave him the answer that I don't believe he was expecting but encapsulates the essence of the Jewish people.
"Yes" I told him. "This is what life in Israel is about. Not a day goes by in this country that we do not feel connected to one another in the most powerful and intimate of ways. Not a day goes by in this country when we are not reminded that we are still in Galut/Exile and that we must still long and pray for that eternally promised day when the Shechina will finally return. Not a day in this country goes by that we are not forced to turn to our Father and to ask him 'When?' 'Why?' 'How much longer?' 'How much more?' Many times we are connecting to one another through happy occasions-through the bar mitzvahs we saw at the Kotel, through the acts of kindness that we experience, through the sounds of Torah that ring out once again from the sound-waves over the radio and the halls of synagogues and study halls and through the prayers that are always offered on behalf of one another. On other occasions we are connecting to our Father and to our family in tragedy, in war, in apprehension about our children, our soldiers, our sick. But we are always connected. That is what life here is all about. And if you ask me that is what the life of a Jew is supposed to be about."
In other countries it is possible to disconnect, or at least to delude oneself that there is an existence as a Jew that is possible without Hashem. That what happens to the people living in the Land of Israel will not affect their day-to day lives. That one can change the channel and escape from the tragedies and the intensity of events that transpire a world away. Here in Israel there are no other channels. We are always on prime time. It is the place where there is always Kaddish, where our lives are that of Kedusha/holiness, in life and in death. May Hashem bring comfort to all of the Jewish people and may these be the last sacrifices that Hashem takes from us, rather than us bringing to Him from our Temple Mount with the Temple rebuilt.
Have a Shabbos that reminds the world what the peace and tranquility of the Divine looks and feels like,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz


Our Father Our King act for the sake of those who were murdered for your holy name
Our Father our king act for the sake of those who were slaughtered for your Oneness
Our Father our King avenge the spilled blood of your servants"-Ancient prayer composed by Rabbi Akiva the great leader martyred by the Romans

(answer below at end of Email)
 Q.   Which of the following Israeli presidents was involved in the study of Jerusalem, the Land of Israel and Jewish communities in the east?
A.    Chaim Weizmann
B.     Yitzhak Ben-Zvi
C.     Zalman Shazar
D.    Yitzhak Navon

"And Yitzchak said I am old and do not know the day of my death"-There ae seven things that are concealed from a person
1)      The day of his death
2)      The day when Hashem will comfort Zion (the time of the final redemption)
3)      The full severity of Hashems judgement
4)      The business in which he will succeed
5)      Another person's thoughts
6)      Whether a child being carried by a woman will be a male or female
7)      The time of the downfall of Edom (the last kingdom which we will be subjugated under, which follows the arrival of Mashiach)


Connecting with your family – Everybody has a cousin in Israel. And if you don't I'll find you one. But here we are all Mishpacha. Go to the Western Wall and you will dance and sing with Bar mitzvah boys. Go to Shul in the morning and you will meet a total stranger and join them for their childs Bris. Pop into a wedding hall on any evening and dance with a bride or groom the celebrants will be happy to see you. You're family. On the other more tragic end most Israelis have at one time or another paid a Shiva call or gone to a funeral of a family they didn't know of a fallen soldier, a hero , a martyr a victim of terror. We're family. We're there for one another. Try it. Other opportunities to connect is strike up a conversation with anyone. On a bus, in a cab on line in the supermarket. We are all related and we love to find those connections. Even most meaningful, give some charity to someone, help out and volunteer in a soup kitchen, make hospital visits, connect with the less fortunate. They are also our family and appreciate it the most. You’re here for an Israel experience this is the ultimate.
Kaddish recited by the 5 year old orphan of Aryeh Kupinsky HY"D at his fathers funeral

the Jewish response from Rabbi Yackov Haber

I'm not a big expert on the Bible Codes but I found this interesting on the Har Nof massacre


At this time in order not to incite any of our arab residents to violent it is advisable no to go to har habayit (temple mount), har hazeitim (mt of olives), har homa (jewish neighborhood) and har nof. At this time it is only permitted to ascend har HaMenuchos (the cemetery)…

Things you might hear Israeli Ministers say
Hanan Zuabi-They are not terrorists they just wanted to convert they brought axes fro the circumcision
Finance Minister- I have given orders to cancel all Synagogue governmental grants and I have requested that the police shut them down immediately all synagogues that threaten the security of our citizens.



Answer is C:  Ben Zvi the second and longest serving Prime minister of Israel (11 years-until his death) was one of the signers of the declaration of Israel's independence. He lived in a small simple house in Rechavia to reflect the austerity of the people and his times setting the tone for Presidents role since then as a non-political figure head that represents the people. His main interests were Jewish history and the land of Israel and particularly eastern Jewish alternative civilizations and cultures and lost tribes writing works on the Karaites and Samarians (shomronim). His face appears on the bill of every 100 shekel today in Israel.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Dating Habits of the Yeshiva World- Chayei Sarah 5775/2014

Insights and Inspiration
from the
Holy Land
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
"Your friend in Karmiel"

November 14th 2014 -Volume 5, Issue 4 -7th  of Cheshvan 5775
Parshat Chayei Sarah
Dating Habits of the Yeshiva World

One of the most interesting things about young “yeshiva world” daters is their choice of venue 
for that first “meet”. I remember one of my sister’s friends sharing her experience with her co-worker who was fascinated by our dating habits. You know the usual questions. Did you have a match maker? (Yes, generally one who is a good friend, not the fiddler on the roof like yenta), do you really not touch or kiss (nope and can barely fathom how and why people who first meet do!). Do you go out to eat? (Not usually on the first couple of dates, too shy to eat in front of each other, so why pay when you can’t enjoy it). So where do you go?  “Oh, to a hotel” she so innocently responded.

Well you can imagine the reaction from her not so innocent interrogator. Very quickly her friend clarified that the typical date took place in a nice Hotel lounge (Marriot Marquis, my personal favorite) where drinks are shared and the evening is spent schmoozing and getting to know one another. I know this process of dating probably sounds so “old worldly” to many of you and foreign to the modern- movie- dinner –dance- peck on the cheek (being kind) daters. Yet the process of courtship in yeshiva circles can arguably be one of the primary reasons behind why the marriages that follow have one of the highest satisfaction rates and the lowest divorce rates in the modern world. With its traditions and outlook dating back to biblical times it is perhaps those secrets that assist in the process of successfully finding the Bashert; the true soul mate.

This week’s Parsha of Chayei Sarah introduces us to the first Biblical Jewish match making process. The Talmud points out that there are more verses in the Torah describing Eliezer, the servant/matchmaker of Avraham’s process in finding a spouse for Yitzchak than most other significant Mitzvot and story lines in the Torah. In fact the Torah describes the dating habits of our forefather Yaakov and our teacher Moshe as well. One common theme they all shared was their choice of locale for their first date. No it wasn’t a hotel lounge or a movie rather it was a seemingly simple meeting at the local well. This seemingly innocuous detail is however noted by the Medrash 
as the motivation of Moshe for going to the well to find his spouse

 “He learned from the ways forefathers. Three people found their spouses at a well: Yitzchak, Yaakov and Moshe. Concerning Yitzchak it is written, 'And Yitzchak came from the way of the well of Le’Chai-Roi.' Furthermore, Rivka had met Eliezer at a well. Concerning Yaakov: 'And he saw, behold, a well in the field.' Concerning Moshe: 'And he sat at the well.” (Medrash Shemos Rabah 1:32)

What is it that Moshe learned about the well that motivated him to go there? And what is this connection between wells and successfully finding your spouse?

Rav Nachman of Breslav, that great Chasidic master, suggests a rather deep idea (excuse the pun). The well is the symbol of water, the simplest life giving force, which draws from the essence of creation when the world was first created and there was only water in the world. In fact water is the first thing created from nothing providing the raw material of all that was to come. By tapping into its power one can obtain the ability to experience pure unadulterated belief. It is for this reason that when one encounters a sense of Tumah; impurity related to an absence of life force one is mandated to go to a Mikvah a ritual bath, whose water comes from an unadulterated source. It is interesting to note that the word in Hebrew the word for well is Be’er which is also the word for clarity. Once again the idea being that to obtain absolute clarity in anything one must go back to the life giving source of all that exists.

It is perhaps that motivation that guided Moshe, Yaakov and Eliezer on their search for the spouse that would be their partner in the most incredible task of their lives; the building of the Jewish family. Rather than going to the local singles club or the ancient equivalent of J-Date they recognized that the process of finding a fitting partner must first begin by strengthening the most important value that would make their marriage and relationship successful. For to build the foundation of what would be an Eternal People and family, the purity of its essence must derive from the recognition of the Creator upon whose world we ultimately aim to sanctify.  That Be’er /well founded clarity is what will be the ultimate guarantor of the true harmony in the building blocks of the Jewish home.

Many in America celebrate Thanksgiving annually. I personally am a big fan of holidays that entail turkey and stuffing. Yet as Jews we tap into the beauty and sanctity of thanksgiving daily to our loving Father in our heaven. Yet another beautiful custom of married Yeshiva students (as well as many others) is that once a week as we sit down to our Shabbat meal we turn to our wives and mothers whom we may not have had the opportunity to express our appreciation for all week, and we sing that beautiful composition by King Solomon, Aishet Chayil a woman of Valor. As we read the concluding words “Beauty and charm are but false and vain, a God fearing women is one that is praiseworthy” we echo the millennia of our ancestors who   have always known that the beauty and vibrancy of our home  has its source in that life giving force that our spiritual partners give us. May they always be blessed with the fruits of their achievements and may their actions praise her at their gates.

Have a positively grand Shabbos,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz


“If you want to meet a princess, make yourself into a prince"-Yiddish Proverb

(answer below at end of Email)
 Q.   Which immigration wave was termed the “mass immigration” (ha-aliyah hahamonit)?
A.    The Fifth Aliyah
B.     The Ha’apalah (illegal immigration)
C.     The immigration immediately following the establishment of the State of Israel
D.    The immigration from Ethiopia

Rabbi Shimon Ben Elazar once said that he once met a woman that had better wits than  him. Once while he was walking down the road he came to a well and met a girl who was filling up her pitcher with water.
"Please my daughter" he requested "can I have a drink?"
"Drink" She responded "and I will also give your donkey to drink"
I drank and upon leaving I said to her," Thank you my daughter. You have acted as Rivkah did to Eliezer (who upon meeting him gave water to him and his camels)"
"But you" she retorted "did not behave as Eliezer did to Rivkah!"(who offered her a hand in marriage to Yitzchak after she had done soJ)

Funny and adorable Shadchan video in honor of the Torah portion of first jewish match this week!!



War Watching – Yeah, I know this doesn’t sound so cool. But after spending an afternoon up in the Golan Heights and listening and watching these Isis rebels and Syrian armed forces fighting and killing each other literally just a few miles from where your standing, you have to ask yourself is this really real. Over 200,000 people have been killed and 1 point something million have been turned into refugees and the world doesn't seem to be saying boo… the only thing that seems to concern anyone is if some guy in Jerusalem is adding and addition on to his home or a new neighborhood his starting. Meantime this Assad guy is using chemical weapons and you literally just hear the artileray and machine gun fire non-stop over there…It's definitely an experience that is a tragedy for all the innocent men women and children that are suffering over there. But on the other hand one thanks god that both warring sides over there that wish for the destruction of Israel are too busy killing each other to join together and attack us. May all of our enemies kill each other.

In the year 2000 Joe Lieberman ran for president, being that he was the first potential Jew in high office he was given a lot of attention. After a disappointing loss Joe walked into his house. “Don’t worry” said his wife “in this house you’ll always be vice president!
“Mom, Dad, sit down.  I have something very important to tell you,” said Sarah, upon her return home from college after graduation. “I met a guy  who lives near the college that I really like and we decided we are going to get married!”
Oh Sarah! I am so happy for you!” Gushed her Mom giving her a big hug, “I hope you two will be really happy together! I can’t wait to meet him!”
 “Tell us more about him” said her Dad, “does he have any money?”
“Oh Dad! Is that all you men ever think about? That was the first question he asked me about you too!!!”


Answer is C:  The "Mass Immigration" is the term used for the three years after the establishment of the State of Israel when the population of this fledgling country doubled from 600,000-1.2 million.WOW! we haven't gotten close to that since that time. The first ones over which were mostly the Ashkenazic holocaust survivors did not bad fro themselves grabbing up the homes abandoned when they fled the country (with the intent of coming back again and killing us with the arab legion…hashem had a different plan) The Sefardim that came afterwards  from yemen and other African and Asian countries Iraq, morocco Tunis and the like did not as good being placed in temporary housing camps and the like…and thus began Israeli politics…